Friday, January 21, 2011

Question O

     Thanks for sharing the Andrea Quotes, Joelle. There is a quote by her that I have heard a few times that is very similar to what Angela Davis was saying, "The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable." (Andrea Dworkin) The White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy we have been learning about is a genius slave system that keeps groups of people separated especially women and makes it so that we are always conforming instead of making change.
      I've learned that change is a process and is going to be a process. Nothing will happen over night, but all the contributions that have been made are important. Being actively aware, constantly and starting conversations are two major things I do in my life to bring about cultural transformation. I am very advantaged by certain patriarchal oppressions like racism and my education. I don't see any other option but to make this world a better place with every step I take. And having hope is important because it is hard to accept the truths of this world and it is painful to be aware to the reality of what Leslie Feinberg was talking about, but like she quoted: "Let us be realistic let us do the impossible." We have to work together and we have to be strong for social change because now is a time for people to rise up; we have to ALL be part of this revolution.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Question N

A good activist requires an individual to be committed to working with others "by building relationships and coalitions that will bring about social change" (Collins, pg. 604). Each of us should find an area of specialization that we are passionate about changing while then working outside other areas of interest in order to build coalitions across differences. An effective and positive change agent must remember that "we do not all have to do the same thing in the same way. Instead we must support each other's efforts, realizing that they are all part of the larger enterprise of bringing about social change" (Collins, pg. 607). Realizing this is the only way we can begin to work towards a future worth living for. Other important qualities a social change agent must encompass is building empathy, this is hard and often we don't see need for it. We often don't see how and why we are connected to all people and therefore apathy fills us instead of empathy. I do believe that coalition building and understanding are key, I admire that about Gail Dines who came to our campus last semester; we talked with her before her presentation she is a strong and smart woman very open to coalition building.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Question M

In my estimation, the root cause of ageism in our culture is the inability to have empathy for the rapidly aging population. Our society has not taken the necessary step to creating a space for families to discuss with their parents before they are not able to make the decision themselves what their preferences is long term care. The movie Living Old did a great job explaining the current state of aging in our culture and how people choose to handle it. The medical advances of our time have allowed people to live longer then ever, and many of times people with serious illness that prevents them from performing daily tasks by themselves has created a need for places for the elderly to live or full time caregivers to come to their homes.  I do think that I am ageist, simply for the fact that I am only 21 years old and have no idea what it is really like to not be able to for say walk by my self or cook a meal for myself for example. I have recentally experience this with seeing my grandparents growing older and unable to take care of themselves any longer and how my Moms brothers and sisters have chosen to deal with this. It is easy for me to sit her and say what I think their next step in life is, but am not having to deal with this first hand. I don't think that I know what I want my long term care to  be when I grow old and am not able to take care of myself any longer. This is a serious and growing problem in our society today and needs to be addressed to create options for families to have when the time comes to decide what the future looks like when you do need assistance in your daily life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Question L

The video Gimp did not have a huge impact on the ability of dance expanding the notions of the human body. I do not have much exposure to theater, dance or other expressive arts, so much of what I see is new and interesting, as I'm not able to provide much of a critique. Gimp did a great job showing difference ways that the human body can express itself through motions and in rhythm with others. This piece helps address issues of ablism by providing other outlets of human expression through dance, which was the complete opposite of what a dancer is portrayed as in our society today. Popular culture and the media portrays dancers as young, petite females or homosexual males (not accepted among mainstream masculine culture today). As Wendell explain about living in a culture of ablism, "the lack of of realistic cultural representations of experiences of disability not only contributes to the "Otherness" of people with disabilities by encouraging the assumption that their lives are inconceivable to non-disabled people" (pg. 480). There is no common language and promotion of understanding and acceptance of individuals who do not fit into this false reality of popular culture today. But Gimp gave a positive, visual example of everyone' own, unique abibilities of their body.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quick Blog #5

I watched the Gail Dines video, who spoke about Her New Book  Pornland: How Porn Has Highjacked Our Sexuality. This was not my first introduction to Gail and her standing and current advocacy work on pornography. She came to UNH to speak this past spring and had the opportunity to meet her before her presentation. I believe that she is a leader in this developing movement, just as all the other isms have become understood problems in our culture, the current state of the pornography industry is enabling a white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy to persist.

Here's a few key points from Gail's speech on her book that I thought were important to bring into the conversation of the harms that pornography has on our culture today.
  • We now live in an image based culture, which has increased the normalization of pornograpgy into mainstream culture. The average age of first time viewers of porn for males is age 11.
  • Many of critics of Gail call her anti-sex, prude, ect... and explains that this is not so, and makes the comparison to being a healthy food advocate who makes a stand against fast food, explaining that fast food is the comodification of food, and has shown to have negative effects on our culture. She correlates this to not being what some call her "anti-sex", but against the commodification of sex, which has become an industry that is having an enormous impact on our society today, and is how a majority of our society is first introduced and now views what a healthy sexual relationship is.
  • Pornography is available on the internet on a global scale and universalizes the way cultures think about sex. Here is a short video a friend of mine shared with me recentally that I thought relates to the power and influence the American Pornography industry has on a global society, specifically men.
  • Since the first Play Boy was published in 1953, pornography has developed into a massive, capitalistic, profit industry. It is estimated that it is a $97 billion/yr industry globally. What many advocates of pornography seem to argue is its the womans choice to be in porn, an adult decison, private business between partners to name a few common examples that I have heard, but seems to ignore and dismiss the forms of violent, racist erotosism that is considered popular mainstream pornography today.
  • Her thoughts on how this conversation and movement can look to the future and long term is to raise individuals conscisoucs and awareness of the negative effects that this industry has on our society. This cannot be done through a criminal route but creating safe space for  victums to feel empowered to take a stand against the produces and help those involved in both the production and consumption of pornography change the way society views and discovers a healthy sexuality. This seems to be a subject that people become uncomfortable with and avoid any conversation around the matter, this is ignoring a serious problem facing our culture today.

Digital Video Project

My Digital Video Project focuses on sexism and how it is perpetuated into mainstream society through the media and popular culture. Sexism has become so normalized and invisible in our culture that we don't understand it is everywhere, in all structures in patriarchal society. Woman are portrayed and honored in our society according to their looks and bodies while male domination persists this and sexism is the foundation that upholds the hyper sexual culture. The two characters Kris (female) and Sam (male) are young friends who are constantly made fun of at school and in the neighborhood about their choice of gender expression, where Kris feels bombarded with images of woman who are overly sexualized and she does not feel that is who she wants to become when she is older. Sam hears about how the older boys are expected to act when they enter high school and how they feel superior and power over girl through what the media has shown them. Both come from single mother households and have been told that their fathers grew into not so good people and were no longer around. Sam doesn't think this is fair for Kris to feel like she has to live up to the cultural stereotypes of what is masculine and what is feminine.

The video was created using the program Xtranormal. This was the first time using a program like this so was a bit slow getting the hang of all of the components and options you can add into your movie. I tried to keep the story line relatively simple, it is meant for an educational video for young kids to realize that although a majority of our culture perpetuates acts sexism, or ignore it, when kids are young they need to not feel pressure from other kids to fit into these false roles of what you need to do to be female and male. I thought a cartoon would reach a younger audience opposed to another type of video maker that would be easier developed to appeal to an adult audience. Its important to help kids find a place in the world where they feel comfortable to be as they want to be and not fall victim to mass media that perpetuates sexism and society's norm. My main resources have been from personal experiences and information that I have learned that explains direct links to sexism, and in the movie mainstream advertisements on billboards that show male dominance while advertising alcohol. It is crucial to social justice that we start to talk about issues such as sexism at a young age, it could change the world for girls to be told that they are strong and boys that they are beautiful.

Here is the link to the movie...

Resources: Xtranormal:

Question K

The film Beautiful Daughters and article "Trans Woman Manifesto" challenges preconceived notions of transgender identity that is stereotyped in American culture. Both of these discussed trans woman, who as Serano said "are so ridiculed and despised because we are uniquely  positioned at the intersection of multiple binary gender-based forms of prejudice: transphobia, cissexism, and misogyny" As an individual who chooses to identify as and/or lives as a woman, trans females face forms of oppression that trans men do not experience because of the simple fact that our society views femininity as inferior to masculinity. The gender binary of male and female that our society has constructed and the acceptable ways to express and live in this gender that was assigned at birth is the only way gender is understood our culture. In the article Serano said "there is no such thing as a "real" gender - there is only the gender we experience ourselves as and the gender we perceive others to be (pg. 442)", but our society doesn't have this view. Instead there is an "extraordinary amount of pressure on individuals to conform to all of the expectations, restrictions, assumptions, and privileges associated with the sex they were assigned at birth (pg. 442)", which is exactly what our culture values, masculine as superior to feminine.

This unit helped link the oppression that transwoman face is the same forms of misogyny that cisgender females experience, both living in a male dominated, masculine valued society that persists today. The male centered gender hierarchy is why transwoman are not as easily accepted or tolerated as trans men in our culture. It was positive to see Beautiful Daughters and how for the first time an all transwoman cast was able to have their presence seen and accepted in the Vagina Monologues, which has in the past been an all cisgender female cast to bring awareness to violence against woman and celebrating being a woman. Cisgender people can act as allies by deconstructing the notion that their are differences between women and men, and the fact as cisgenders, because your subconscious and physical sexes are aligned, this is not the case for every person. Do not make judgments on peoples gender identity just on appearance that our society through popular culture and the media only knows as what is feminine and what is masculine. We all live in a male dominated society that needs to first change before our culture can empower people of all sexualities and genders.